Seatbelt Safety Facts

Written by Greg on June 2, 2015

Buckle Up For Safety

While most individuals understand the importance of wearing a seatbelt, it is equally important to understand the facts that surround seatbelt use. According to the United States Department of Transportation, presented by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2013 seat belt use was an estimated 87%, which remained statistically unchanged from the 86% that was seen in 2012. Further, as showcased through the National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS), as a whole, seatbelt use has become an increasing trend since 1995, which is also showcased in the overall percentage of unrestrained passenger vehicle (PV) occupant fatalities during the day time.

The 2013 seatbelt survey also underlined the following:

  • Seat belt use for occupants in heavy traffic increased from 89% in 2012 to 90% in 2013.
  • Seat belt use for occupants in the Northeast increased significantly from 89% in 2012 to 90% in 2013.
  • Seat belt use continued to be higher in the States in which vehicle occupants can be pulled over for not using a seatbelt. These states are known as “primary law states.” This is in comparison with States with weaker enforcement, known as “secondary law states”, or those States that do not have any seatbelt laws to speak of.
  • Moreover, there are also listed segmentations that bear additional consideration, such as the change in drivers versus passengers, fast traffic versus slow traffic, etc.

As one can see, there have been significant changes in the overall trends surrounding seatbelt use.

The trends were uncovered by sending trained observers to probabilistically sampled roadways, who then observed passenger vehicles between the hours of 7 am and 6 pm. Additionally, the observations were made either while standing at the roadside or, in the event that expressways were being gauged, while riding in a vehicle in the traffic. In order to fully capture the aforementioned statistics, the National Occupant Protection Use Survey team did not directly stop occupants or interview occupants as this might completely taint results and sully the information that was uncovered.

Additionally, the 2013 data was collected between June 3rd and June 13th, 2013 while the 2012 data was collected between June 4th and June 17th, 2012. For more information about the survey, it is recommended that one visits the information site directly at:

It is important to gauge how the survey was collected in order for researchers and the general public to understand that no discrepancy exists in the information and it can stand as is. The information that is contained within the survey is extremely helpful to understand how seatbelt use is becoming a social norm.

Although seatbelt use has increased significant, which is a good thing as it would allow fewer injuries and deaths in car accidents; it is also important to keep in mind that there is always room to increase these statistics as well. It is essential for one to wear all passengers to wear a seatbelt when inside a vehicle in order to prevent, or at least lessen, injuries or fatalities during car accidents.



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